Scott Marks 12:30 p.m., July 26
Mary Poppins Returns
The love and honor that director Rob Marshall and all concerned bear for Walt Disney’s beloved original is palpable throughout this supremely well-meaning sequel, which finds the numinous nanny (played here with smirking sternness by Emily Blunt) returning to her post just as one of her charges — now grown-up, widowed, and working at, you guessed it, Fidelity Fiduciary — is about to lose his family home to the very bank that employs him. This is no mere nostalgia-mining cash grab operation; this is an homage, a tribute, a...slog. Marshall, regrettably, directs scenes, not actors, with the result that some inspired sequences fail for personal reasons. Some of the songs are more impressive than enjoyable (and some aren’t even that). And the Mary ex machina that finishes the ginned-up drama makes mock of all her previous efforts to get the kiddies in her care to make their own magic. But those are mere quibbles: the real problem is the film’s failure to do its own magic and give life to what’s on screen. 2018.